How to stay safe on public transport under Italy’s lockdown phase two

Italy's health ministry has issued new guidance on reducing the risk of infection when using public transport.

How to stay safe on public transport under Italy's lockdown phase two
Commuters in central Milan on May 5th. Photo: AFP

More people are now using public transport again, as Italy moved into phase two this week and some workplaces reopened.

Milan's public transport system is currently running at 25 percent of its usual capacity, and across the country buses, trams, and metro trains now feature signs warning travellers to keep their distance.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on travel around Italy during lockdown phase two?

The Italian government has also stated that masks must be worn when using on all forms of public transport.

In addition to this, the Italian health ministry on Wednesday published official advice on staying safe when using public transport – assessed by workplace injury insurance agency being a “medium-high risk” environment for coronavirus infection, the Ansa news agency reports.

The risk rises to “high” during peak times in urban areas, the insurers said.

Here are the steps Italy's health ministry says should be followed when using buses, trams, metros and trains.

  • Do not use public transport if you have any symptoms of acute respiratory infections (fever, cough, or cold).

  • If possible, buy tickets electronically – online or via apps.

  • Follow the signs and designated routes in stations and at stations.

  • Always keep a distance of at least one metre from other people while travelling.

  • Use the doors indicated to get on and off the vehicle.

  • Only sit in places where seating is allowed and maintain a distance from other passengers.

  • Avoid approaching or asking for information from the driver.

  • Use disposable gloves while travelling and be careful not to touch your face.

  • Wear a protective face-mask to cover your nose and mouth.


Photo: AFP



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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”